Monday, June 29, 2009

Review ~ A Stroke of Magic by Tracy Madison

You know how freaky it is, to expect one taste and get another? Imagine picking up a can of tepid ginger ale and taking a swig of delicious, icy cold peppermint tea. Alice Raymond did just that. And though the tea is exactly what she wants, she bought herself a soda.

No, Alice’s life isn’t exactly paint-by-numbers. After breaking things off with her lying, stealing, bum of an ex, she discovered she’s pregnant. Motherhood was definitely on her “someday” wish list, but a baby means less time for her art and no time for recent hallucinations that include this switcharoo with the tea. She has to impress her new boss, the ridiculously long-lashed, smoky-eyed Ethan Gallagher, and she has to deal with her family, who have started rambling about gypsy curses. Only a soul-deep bond with the right man can save her and her child? As if being single wasn’t pressure enough!

Alice Raymond use to have it all: a great job at an art gallery (that allowed her to focus on her own art), a cool apartment in the city, and a terrific boyfriend. Yep, she had it all. Until she found out she was pregnant and that terrific boyfriend is actually married. But hey, things start looking up again. She landed a good, if slightly boring, job at an ad agency, her new boss is dreamy, and she’s discovered she is the descendent of a gypsy and has magical powers. Not bad right? Wrong.

Because Alice is really scared about being a single mother. She misses her job at the gallery where she felt it was much more than a job. And mostly, the ghost stuff just scares her a little. Plus, her boss, Ethan is more than a little unnerving. He’s sexy, he’s smart, and he likes her. It should be a good thing but after her disasterous relationship with Troy (the no-good-cheating-jerk-boyfriend-with-a-wife-Troy), Alice’s confidence is a tad bit shaky. Until …

Miranda appears and tells Alice that she must find her soul mate before her baby is born or terrible things will happen. That’s enough for Alice. With the help of her best friend, Chloe, sister Elizabeth, and wacky grandmother Verda, Alice sets out to find the man of her dreams. Luckily, Ethan is quite handy. And very willing. But can Alice be sure that he is the one? Can she put her future, that of her unborn daughter’s, and everyone she loves in the hands of Ethan?

Ms. Madison and characterization go together like chocolate and strawberries. Alice’s feelings, thoughts, and actions were never forced and I sympathized with her at every turn. When Alice, trying to hide her pregnancy from Ethan blurted out, “I miss sex.” I spit out my McDonalds sweet tea. And when she hits reply all to an email, my stomach dropped for her (because let’s face it, who doesn’t fear one day doing the same thing?). Ms. Madison’s characters are real people and for that, she gets big points.

The magic continues with Alice’s tale and thank goodness Ms. Madison has more books on the way because I am all tied up with Miranda’s girls. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Things I Liked

~ I am always a little wary of first person stories. So many ways the writing can go wrong. No such wrong turns here! Not only was Alice her own person, with a voice completely separate from Elizabeth’s, but Ms. Madison wrote a person who is truly laid back and comfortable in her own thoughts. It was a joy to read.

~ I loved that Miranda’s (the ghostly gypsy grandmother) personality developed in Alice’s story. In Elizabeth’s book, she was sort of one-dimensional – just a ghost but with Alice, we learn a little more about Miranda (like that she likes Three’s Company). I only hope she gets that much presence in future books.

Things I Didn’t Like

~ I know Ethan is Alice’s soul mate but the romance lacked a little sparkle for me. They came together easily and their differences were resolved just as easily (well, mostly). Maybe I am more for suffering lovers though! 

Additional Info

~ Published ~ June 20, 2009

~ Price ~$6.99

~ Author Website ~


Beth said...

Great review, Em! I can't wait to read it! Keep up the great work, my wonderfully awesome CP.

Tracy Madison said...

Thank you for reading and posting such a great review of A STROKE OF MAGIC, Emily! I already told you how much I love the quote "Ms. Madison and characterization go together like chocolate and strawberries," but it bears repeating.